Peppers at 10, which seems low.
- Overall, the B1G posted a record of 20-28 in these games (especially interesting if I could find the number of games the B1G was the underdog ... 20-28 as a dog is a pretty good record)
- Avg score 24.6 - 29.4 / avg winning margin 6 pts / avg losing margin 13 pts
- Biggest offenders (Illinois, Nebraska, Purdue ... combined 0-5, avg 24 pt losses)
- Worst matchups: USC (0-5, avg. 19 pt losses), Alabama (42 pt win over Sparty, 2012), Ok St (44 pt drubbing of Purdue last year). Houston over Penn St (16 pt loss) and Miss St over Rich Rod's 2011 squad also hurt overall average
- ohio state's two Nat'l Champ game appearances also hurt, probably the most in terms of national perception (0-2, 21 pt avg loss)
Real fun with numbers? Remove 2012 Alabama/MSU, all Rose Bowls, and all Nebraska/Purdue games? (2-12 in those games, outscored by 16 ppg)
- B1G is 19-15 in January bowl games !!!
- Against the SEC (games all in Florida, right?) the B1G is 13-14. Their average win is by just over 5 points, but average loss is by almost 13 points
- The B1G's failures in the Rose Bowl are well documented (1-8 over this strech). They have been outscored by only 9 points (average) in those games. Considering opponents (USC dynasty, Texas, etc) and location (USC's backyard), that's not as terrible as it sounds.
- B1G went 2-12 vs Pac 10/12 and Big 12 combined
|Conference||No of Games||B1G Avg Score||Opp Avg Score|
|Team (record)||Win Pct||Scoring Margin|
|ohio state (5-4)||.556||-1|
|Penn St (3-3)||.500||
|Michigan St (2-2)||.500||-15|
Four Plays – ND @ UM 2013
Though football is obviously a team sport, much of what determines the success or failure of any specific football play is determined by individual matchups between blockers and defenders, receivers and defensive backs, ballcarriers and tacklers, and so on. This series examines the probable individual matchups Michigan would face against particular 2013 opponents on one of Michigan’s key running plays and one of its key passing plays, as well as defensively against a couple of the opponent’s key plays (assuming first-sting personnel in a base defensive alignment).
For my debut edition, I look at Michigan’s marquee early-season contest with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, in what will be the penultimate game of the classic series. The off-season loss of sophomore QB Everett Golson to academic ineligibility takes some of the sting out of a promising ND offense, but a formidable defensive line trio promises to keep the Irish in it.
When Michigan has the ball…
1. 26 Power R
Michigan hasn’t had too much success with the famous “Power O” play in Brady Hoke’s first two seasons. But with the departures of Rich Rod speed guards Ricky Barnum and Patrick Omameh, and their replacement with battering ram types Kyle Kalis and Ben Braden, year 3 of the Hoke era promises to finally showcase the return of that “Manball” centerpiece. Shown here from an offset I formation, Power O attacks the “6-hole” between offensive tackle and TE. For this exercise I am presuming Fitzgerald Toussaint is the ballcarrier, though the play ought to work just as well with any other skilled tailback. Key features of the play include: (i) the RT and TE will double-team the opposing SDE at the point-of-attack; (ii) the LG will pull and lead the tailback through the hole; (iii) the tailback then reads and cuts off the LG’s block.
LT – Taylor Lewan: downblock “Cat” LB Prince Shembo
LG – Ben Braden: pull and lead RB through 6-hole, block WLB Dan Fox
C – Jack Miller: downblock WDE Sheldon Day
RG – Kyle Kalis: downblock NT Louis Nix III
RT – Michael Schofield: downblock SDE Stephon Tuitt
TE – Devin Funchess: double-team Tuitt, move to second-level and block MLB Jarrett Grace
FB – Joey Kerridge: execute kick-out block on “Dog” LB Danny Spond
RB – Fitzgerald Toussaint: follow LG through 6-hole, cut off LG’s block. Note that when running power from I-formation, the back must execute a counter step (toward the backside) before receiving the handoff. This is to allow the LG time to execute his pull.
Probably Michigan’s only favorable matchup on this list of assignments is Lewan’s downblock on Shembo, which is arguably the least important block in the play. Tuitt can likely hold his ground against a Schofield-Funchess double-team, and asking new starters Kyle Kalis and Jack Miller to single-block Louis Nix and Sheldon Day is an iffy proposition at best. Things could really get ugly if Tuitt gets penetration or if Braden (or whoever is playing LG) struggles to execute his pulls.
2. 874 Play-Action Corner-Hook
Here is an adaptation of a Stanford play I found on smartfootball.com, which is a play-action pass off of power. I’m not sure if Borges will pull guards on play-action, but it looks like a pretty smart thing to do when a team’s running game is predicated on Power O. Other than that little wrinkle with the protection, it looks pretty much like something Borges would run, so I am going with it. Normally, for play-action to work a team must ordinarily first establish the running play off of which the play-action pass is run—and as we see above, establishing Power O against the Irish front may be a difficult proposition. But when your offense coordinator stresses the value of failed plays, it’s a pretty safe bet that Michigan will run some kind of play-action off of power whether the run is working or not.
LT – Taylor Lewan: pass protect vs. WDE Sheldon Day
LG – Ben Braden: pull to simulate run action, pass protect vs. SDE Stephon Tuitt
C – Jack Miller: pass protect vs. WDE Sheldon Day
RG – Kyle Kalis: pass protect vs. NT Louis Nix III
RT – Michael Schofield: pass protect vs. SDE Stephon Tuitt
TE – Devin Funchess: run corner (7) route
FB – Joey Kerridge: motion to left side of formation; pass protect vs. Cat LB Prince Shembo
SE – Jeremy Gallon: run deep post (8)
FL – Amara Darboh: run hook (4) route
TB – Fitzgerald Toussaint: execute fake handoff, pass protect, then release to flat
QB – Devin Gardner: execute play-fake, then check FS Elijah Shumate (will ordinarily be playing the deep left half in a cover 2 scheme); throw the deep post if open; if not, read FCB KeiVare Russell—if Russell has come up to play Darboh’s curl, throw to Funchess on corner; if Russell “sinks” to cover the corner route, throw curl to Darboh; final read is Toussaint, who should release to the flat.
ND’s favorable matchups against Michigan’s young interior OL may frustrate the power running game, but on passing plays Michigan’s veteran tackles should take the sting out of the ND pass rush. If Gardner has time to throw, Michigan should be able to consistently move the ball through the air with Gallon’s shiftiness, Funchess’s length, and Darboh’s size posing difficult matchup problems for the ND secondary. Big plays become possible if the Michigan is able to establish Power O and force the safeties to respect the play-action fakes.
When Notre Dame has the ball…
3. Inside Zone
Any Michigan fans older than about twelve are undoubtedly quite familiar with this play, at least the under-center version. Shown here from a Shotgun 2TE formation, the zone game is the staple of Brian Kelly’s ground attack.
Assignments. In a zone blocking scheme, linemen are not assigned specific defenders to block. Rather, linemen who are covered block the defender who is covering them; uncovered linemen move to the second level and find a linebacker or safety to block (with or without chipping the nearest defender on the line of scrimmage first). Nonetheless, were ND to run the inside zone against Michigan’s base 4-3 under front, we can predict the matchups as follows:
LTE Troy Niklas: block WDE Frank Clark
LT Zack Martin: move to second level and block WLB James Ross
LG Chris Watt: block 3T Jibreel Black
C Nick Martin: block NT Quinton Washington
RG Conner Hanratty: block MLB Desmond Morgan
RT Christian Lombard: SDE (Keith Heitzman/Matt Godin/Tom Strobel)
RTE Alex Welch: block SLB Cam Gordon
RB George Atkinson III: run though B gap (between RG & RT) if open; read blocks and take cutback lane or bounce outside if holes appear there instead
According to the UFR, in 2012 Notre Dame ran 21 zone runs against the Michigan defense for a respectable 83 yards, with much of their success coming against Michigan’s inexperienced weakside ends (Frank Clark and Mario Ojemudia). It is difficult to see ND doing any better than that in 2013—and they could do significantly worse if the WDE position becomes a strongpoint in Michigan’s run defense instead of the primary weakness.
4. Play-Action Split Left 936
On this play, detailed at OneFootDown, the Irish form a triangle read for the QB by pairing a fly-out combination on the left side with a dig route on the backside. If the play works as designed, the run action should help at least one of the inside receivers (either two TEs or a TE and a slot WR) get open in the flat (on the out route) or over the middle (on the dig route). This makes the safety wrong; if he comes up to assist the short defender, he leaves the CB in single coverage on the fly route. If he stays back to help the CB over the top, the underneath route will be open (with the possibility of YAC). The QB should determine, based on his pre-snap read, which side of the field is more likely to present a mismatch and read deep-to-shallow starting on that side of the field. On this play, we will presume that Rees assesses the matchup to the left side as more favorable.
SE DaVaris Daniels: Run fly (9) route (likely covered by BCB Raymon Taylor)
LTE Troy Niklas/Slot WR Davonte Neal: split wide and run an out (3) pattern (likely covered by WLB James Ross or NCB Dymonte Thomas)
LT Zack Martin: pass protect vs. WDE Frank Clark
LG Chris Watt: pass protect vs. 3T Jibreel Black
C Nick Martin: pass protect vs. NT Quinton Washington
RG Conner Hanratty: pass protect vs. NT Quinton Washington
RT Christian Lombard: pass protect vs. SDE (Keith Heitzman/Matt Godin/Tom Strobel)
RTE Alex Welch: run dig route (likely covered by SLB Cam Gordon or MLB Desmond Morgan)
RB George Atkinson III: pass protect vs. ? (probably a blitzing LB or double the SDE)
FL T.J. Jones: run fly route (likely covered by FCB Blake Countess)
QB Tommy Rees: read passing triangle deep-to-shallow, key defender is FS Jarod Wilson
Michigan’s experienced corners should be able to hold their own against ND’s underwhelming receivers, and while Rees has veteran savvy he doesn’t feature a huge arm. Michigan’s linebackers should also be athletic enough to handle ND’s tight ends, while Dymonte Thomas and Courtney Avery give M two good options should ND insert a third WR. Thomas Gordon adds a 5th-year senior presence in the defensive backfield. On the other hand, Michigan has yet to prove it can get pressure with four rushers—and while a player like Jerod Wilson offers a physical upgrade from Jordan Kovacs, whether Wilson is mentally ready for the position has yet to be seen.
Based on the foregoing, Michigan will win obvs.
As your resident demographics nerd, I want to delve a little into something we hear a lot about with conference expansion, and that is, like, people living places and stuff. This is a pretty unrefined look, as I am not looking into actual football fans or recruits coming from certain states (this has been done before, and better, by others, so I won't reinvent the wheel), just pure eyeballs that exist in said state, and population trends. First, let's look at current and future B1G states. For unfortunate reasons, as I was making the chart, it kind of de-pretty-fied, so in an effort to not remake it, I will explain that the way to read this is like so:
|1990 Pop.||% Growth|
|2000 Pop.||% Growth|
|2010 Pop.||% Growth|
|2012 Est. Pop.||% Growth|
So, Wisconsin had 4,891,769 people in 1990, grew 4% even from 1980, and was estimated to have 5,726,398 in 2012, as we can see in the chart below. Dig? So, here is some raw data (all from Wikipedia):
Now, a list of the B1G states in pure rank order, with growth rates from 2010 to 2012:
What should stand out is that we have have three states with above 10 million people, one with almost that much, one with almost 9 million, then a dropoff. Also, with the exception of basically Maryland, no state is posting super high growth in that time, and the "B1G region" has over 84 million people total. Now, for the region we will inevitably compare ourselves with (and because I am not doing this for the West Coast, so there), here's the SEC state comparison (including prettiness):
And in order:
US chart for comparison:
So, the takeaway is thus: The SEC states right now have a few million more people (only like 8), and lots of those states are fairly small and not even growing very fast, as they only have three states with more than 10 million people, and none of the others are close. However, look at the numbers for Texas especially, and to a lesser extent Georgia and Florida. Those are growth percentages from 2010 to 2012. There are B1G states that have put up those percentages in a decade, on much smaller numbers. So, in one sense the demographic issues we are facing are real, but picking up a school in a state that is fairly large but stagnant in growth (Jersey), and another (couple) schools in a state that is growing fairly fast but only the size of Minnesota (Maryland), don't really seem to be the smartest move for the conference from a simply demographics view (there are wealth discussions to be had, but that is not within my purview).
So, we are thinking "Ah, ah, make the population stagnation stop!" Well, in an effort to not bitch aimlessly, I give you this:
Ah, fairly large states with fast growth. Whew. Anyway, since many of you will skim to the last paragraph to avoid tl;dr syndrome, in summary I say: while it's true the B1G population numbers weren't really growing fast either compared to the US or the bigger SEC states since 1990 (the smaller SEC states were really a wash), the states we picked up at the moment don't really fix the problem, except maybe in terms of just bringing in current people (as a side note, our population is much more spread out than that of the SEC in terms of evenness). However, many have said that the next move on the part of the B1G is moving South (I don't disagree with this, but it might take quite a while, as I have argued before), which brings the double boon of adding large, fast-growing states, and also preventing the SEC from getting them (the issue of VA Tech going SEC is something I am just going to call a wash and ignore for now), and that's probably the only longer term solution if this is really seen as a problem that needs to be combatted. I am not saying anything profound that we haven't discussed ad infinitum here and elsewhere, but I did want to put some hard numbers on it so we can see the scope of the issue.
OK, so all we have left is hockey. Let's vist with another world-class sporting team from the University; UM Solar. They just unveiled their new car, Generation, that will be competing in the World Solar Challenge in October. The rules have changed and now each car has four wheels and the driver is off-set to the left. I believe this is because some teams experienced instability with the three-wheel layout. I will check with a former team member to see if he has any insight. Otherwise, enjoy what is over one year of exceptionally hard work.
The Block M on the rear deck is a nice touch.
UM Students have been developing the car, called “Generation,” for over a year in preparation for the 2013 World Solar Challenge – a week-long, 1,800-mile trek across the Australian continent in October. The WSC is held every other year. Generation is the first solar car to feature four wheels in more than a decade. It is the 12th vehicle developed by the U of M Solar Car Team since its inception in 1990.
Here are some links to main stream media. Certainly worh a read. As race week approaches, I'll try to get more information, and hope to keep up with each day's activities (even though it will be right in the middle of Football season). Go Blue.
Matt Barkley, Giant Jimmy Clausen and Shane Morris
Up until late last season, most Michigan fans were preparing for the possibility of starting this season in the hands of a true freshman quarterback. Prior to last season’s Nebraska game, this season was shaping up to feature a quality quarterback competition. Devin Gardner was the former five star dual threat quarterback. He had looked shaky in his brief appearances and during the Spring Game. At the time, some were wondering if his current stop over at wide receiver could be a more permanent move. Russell Bellomy was the last minute addition to Michigan’s first recruiting class under Brady Hoke. His physical tools were limited but he had put up a solid showing in the previous spring. Bellomy and Gardner were still largely unknowns as college quarterbacks at the time, but what was known didn’t lead many to think there was a strong option on campus. For many, the hope for the 2013 quarterback position rested in five star commitment Shane Morris.
Everything changed at the Nebraska game. Denard Robinson was injured and with Devin Gardner largely at wide receiver, Russell Bellomy got his shot. Bellomy struggled mightily, Gardner was permanently moved back to quarterback and produced a fantastic closing stretch. Meanwhile, high school senior Shane Morris came down with a case of mono and saw his stock slide back with a limited senior year.
Now the picture is much clearer. Devin Gardner has locked down the starting spot, Russell Bellomy tore his ACL, and Shane Morris likely will miss out on a redshirt season, but will be able to spend some time learning from the sideline before being thrown into live action. MCalibur did a great job looking at what Devin’s season could look like. But what would the world look like if Shane Morris was in a position to take over just months after his Senior Prom.*
*This fulfills my professional obligation to reference Senior Prom in any article about true freshmen.
The Short History of Success
The answers aren’t pretty so there isn’t any point in sugar coating. I looked at true freshmen quarterbacks since the 2003 season that played at least 10 games and averaged at least 20 plays (passes+rushes). During that time only eight qualifying quarterbacks have had a positive PAN (Points Above Normal, Opponent Adjusted). Only three have been greater than +1. For reference, last year there were 58 quarterbacks who had positive PAN with at 20 plays per game. There obviously aren’t a ton of true freshman playing most of the snaps in a given year, but eight players in eleven seasons to be above average is a tiny number.
Four of the eight were from BCS programs and of those Robert Griffin, Tyrod Taylor and Terrelle Pryor all had a rushing portion of their game that really helped them. That leaves one pro style true freshman BCS quarterback in the last 11 seasons who had a positive PAN. That player was Matt Barkley in 2009. It should also be noted that the 2009 USC offense was the most highly ranked offensive unit in terms of recruiting profile in the internet era of recruiting. And it’s not that close. Surrounded by all of that talent a true freshman Matt Barkley had a PAN of +1.1. For a 2012 comparison, +1.1 is right between David Ash of Texas and Tevin Washington of Georgia Tech. Over 11 years, that is the best case scenario for a player in Shane Morris’ situation. And although the pipeline is beginning to fill up, the 2012 Michigan offense probably isn’t quite as loaded as Barkley had in 2009.
If you include the dual threat quarterbacks, the best BCS season was Terrelle Pryor’s first
professional season at +2.7. At nearly 3 points above average per game, Pryor’s value moved him into Top 30 range, along the lines of Matt McGloin at Penn State last season. Here is the full list of eight who managed positive territory.
|Terrelle Pryor||Ohio St||2008||+2.7|
|Tyrod Taylor||Virginia Tech||2007||+0.4|
|Nate Davis||Ball St||2006||+0.3|
|Spencer Keith||Kent St||2009||+0.2|
The Long History of Failure
With only eight players passing the average mark, that leaves the rest to fall below. The average season for all other true freshmen quarterbacks was nearly –3. The worst was Jimmy Clausen’s 2007 season at –8. The average performance is on par with Zach Mettenberger’s performance at LSU and if you watched a good LSU team at all last year, you knew none of their success was due to him. Clausen’s awful 2007 would have barely edged out Sean Schroeder of Hawaii to escape being the worst quarterback performance of the season.
The lack of success of true freshman isn’t necessarily indicative of future failure. Even Jimmy Clausen made an All-American list and got drafted in the second round. Teddy Bridgewater, Braxton Miller, Chad Henne, Matthew Stafford, Brady Quinn and Josh Freeman all turned below average true freshmen seasons into great college careers and/or high draft selections.
What it Means for Michigan
Thank goodness for Devin Gardner’s breakout performances. No matter how good a true freshmen quarterback is and how good their supporting cast is, the first season they are going to be a limiting reagent for the offense. In the coming weeks I am hoping to get a look at quarterback career progression to see if there is any sort of an optimal career path where some experience can avoid some of the struggles noted above but still provide the opportunity to get elite talent like Shane Morris on the field as much as possible. Chances are Michigan’s current quarterback timeline should fit nicely into a high value historical path. A year or two to develop behind Devin Gardner combined with Morris’ strong recruiting profile mean that he should be in an excellent position to succeed when his time has come. Luckily for us, that doesn’t have to be this year.
Six Zero here, with the triumphant return of…
This feature highlights some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog
and beyond. Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get
to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on
their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF MGOPROFILE
(Scroll down to the MGoProfile section of the User-Curated HOF).
SIX QUESTIONS WITH LSACLASSOF2000
If what they say about nice guys is true, it pretty much goes without saying that LSAClassOf2000 will pretty much finish last in everything ‘til the end of time. I can’t tell you the first time I’d interacted with LSA, but I can tell you it was several years ago, and I can tell you he’s always been an exceptionally consistent class act each and every time since then. Some of us here at MGoBlog are more anonymous than others, and some are more civil around here than others—but for those in search of a suitable online role model, someone who always treats everyone with equal respect while projecting a general vibe of lighthearted enthusiasm and positivity, look no further than our most recently anointed Mod, the ubiquitous LSAClassOf2000. He pulled away from his crusade to keep the boards respectable just long enough to deliver the goods in this exclusive MgoProfile:
1. First and foremost, let’s get this out of the way… Dude, what’s up with all the Rainbow Pegasuses and Unicorns?
For all of the time that I have had any avatar on MGoBlog, it has been some depiction of Rainbow Dash, the tomboyish cyan pegasus from the latest incarnation of “My Little Pony”, and while I will not name names, I do know there are a few fans on the board. Actually, someone got a little irritated when I changed it to the present one sometime in 2011, so while it may not mesh terribly well with a sports blog, the show is not unknown around here. Typically, I won’t talk about it unless prompted, for it is “Way OT” and not germane to Michigan athletics, but when I have, the response is generally positive from what I can recall. I am certainly not ashamed of it, as you can tell.
Why that avatar? It gives me something of a unique identity on the board, and the particular avatar that I chose comes from an episode of “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” where Rainbow Dash is playing pranks on people, so it has a little of my irreverent side in it. It also looks pretty cool as part of a desktop background that I rotate in with some of the fine football-related ones that are made available by users here.
To tie that into my Michigan fandom, Rainbow Dash is also portrayed as loyal and always willing to be of service to her friends, and I feel like that towards my University and the MGoCommunity.
As for the unicorn, I actually tweeted out a photo of myself wearing a shirt with a unicorn with blue hair on it. That would be one of my other favorites – “Vinyl Scratch”, the village DJ basically. My love of music sort of drew me to that as being a pretty cool secondary character from the show.
<-- (LSA himself rockin' his My Little Pony style, used with permission)
Yes, my friends, you read that right—My Little Pony. And he’s far from the only one; male adult fans are such an established portion of the show’s fan base that they have their own web sites, conventions, even a descriptive meme-like name. So tell us, in your own words LSA, what exactly is a BRONY? Are there others in the sphere of Michigania, or are you the only one?
There actually is a pretty solid definition of “brony” out there – it is the blanket term for adult male fans of MLP (My Little Pony). The show’s creator, Lauren Faust, repeatedly says in interviews that the whole idea was to create a version of the franchise which wouldn’t drive adults up a wall - worked on me anyway. It's pretty hip really - it makes references to X-Man, Spiderman, even Benny Hill, and for a show aimed at kids, has a lot for adults to like as well in terms of humor. I suppose that’s what draws me to it – it is written by people my age in part for people my age.
2. I can respect that. So, moving on, can you tell us what exactly is an “LSAClass of 2000?” Explain how you came up with the name that goes with the instantly identifiable avatar.
When I decided to upgrade my MGoExistence from “lurker” to “extant poster” during the coaching search in January 2011, the first stumbling block was, of course, my username. In all the time I had been lurking going back to a game in 2007 which will not be mentioned, there had been so many great ones which made references to Michigan’s past and present. I thought about some variant on these, but then I wanted to make it something that would make people stop and think, “Who exactly is this guy anyway?”
The other consideration is that I finally decided to make it something personal regarding my time and experience at Michigan, and that’s when combining the college at Michigan from which my degrees come and the year of my graduation came to me. I toyed with a few combinations on paper that evening when I set up the account. It even took me a few tries to get onto the site because, at that time, thousands of people were glued to flight tracking sites and I wanted to be part of that.
Of course, in the end, I settled on the name I use you now see and not once have I thought about changing it. Some months ago, there was even a thread where someone asked about the origins of usernames and second accounts, and invented the secondary purpose of my name in that thread – it also represents the collective voice of an entire segment of a graduating class. Well, I like to think it does – it probably doesn’t, but I like to think that. Having said that, of course, a few people have since come forward and said that they are also “LSAClassOf2000”, so it is no longer a crime to have graduated from LS&A in 2000.
3. I assume we’re talking about the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, and not the rare genitalia skin condition Lichen Sclerosus et Atrophicus? Ahem. So here at MGoBlog, you are a Moderator. The Night’s Watch of MGoBlog, as it were. So few of us readers understand the demands and difficulties of this position. Define the unique responsibilities of this role.
Ah, yes. One of the things you may be surprised to know is that the MGoFAQ essentially defines the ground rules for moderating MGoBlog. In other words, there are not a lot of set rules – about 99.99% of it, in my admittedly brief experience to date, is done by precedent or subjective judgment based on our understanding of expectations more than anything. That’s part of why you will see a thread stay for a while one day and then, days later, when a similar thread appears, it will disappear quickly. We all approach these things differently.
It is that lack of set rules which makes scouring the board and its threads interesting, to say the least. In this role, you basically have to at least skim everything that passes into existence on MGoBlog. I am not a frequent presence in front page threads, for example, but whereas I could just read the articles before, now I read that and every response after it. I have even had occasion to delete the odd post from the front page threads as a result.
When I start seeing masses of greyed out posts – as I have my threshold set to +1 – I start getting curious, so I will open those posts and read them more carefully. On a site as active as this one, you have to create markers which may or may not lead you to potential trouble, and that’s sort of one. Beyond that, there is just quite a bit of reading involved, although I will say I feel like I could get to a point where, just based on style and content, I could guess at who posted what even without usernames. It is definitely a passive way to acquaint yourself with others.
You also have to step back and behave as a poster. You also sit there and read the title of every thread about ten times if it looks like it might be misleading. Quite a bit of the role is content monitoring, but that quickly leads into behavior monitoring. I like to think of it as essentially “background trolling”, only making an appearance when things have gotten out of hand, and something even then not saying anything. Sometimes, deleting and posting in the Action Sticky will do just fine.
Certainly doesn’t sound like a job for the casual reader. What’s the worst part of being a MOD? What’s the best?
I freely admit to this – the best part of this moderation thing is that I can delete my own double posts. After all, with power comes responsibility as well as mad ability to edit things.
That, and I can give back in a way to a blog that has enriched my MGoExistence. That’s the reason I really volunteered to do it, even in the full knowledge that it might change my relationship with the board and other users. I really felt that this was another way that I could make a positive contribution, and I like to believe that, so far, this has been the case.
The worst part about it is that you know that, down the line, you’ll anger someone because you’ll delete a post or thread that someone thought was going well or was within the rules. I am pretty sure that you pick up the wrath of an aggrieved blogger in this role, but I like to think that my record as a contributor is enough to overcome such pettiness. It’s a judgment call, and I would like to think that I am a fair person – indeed, I am willing to restore threads if people can come up with a good reason they should be restored. I’ve done it a few times actually.
4. See what I mean (Re: Nice Guy)? Now we’ve seen many fine men crumble under the weight of this thankless responsibility. Did you know what you were getting yourself into back in March? How have you endured it so far? Why do you think other mods get burned out so thoroughly and completely?
I approach modding a bit like my own job, which is in supervision. I manage people for a living, and I am finding that I can apply some of that philosophy to this blog. I try to be a professional about it, although admittedly the blog gives me an opportunity to be a little more playful about being in a supervisory role. If I approach it with a certain level of detachment, I don’t have a lot of issues with being “bad cop” from time to time. Like my job, in doing this, you will definitely get grieved, but if you’re able to explain yourself when asked, there shouldn’t be any problem after that.
Having talked some with other mods, I had some preparation for the position, but again, as it is basically done from precedent and there are many judgment calls and therefore many opinions – there are only really a few types of things that are non-starters right from the beginning. There is a level of collaboration among mods though, so sometimes we do talk about what we might do in a given situation or with certain threads or posts. Certain decisions are sometimes not made before a short consultation.
As for myself, I like to think I have done well so far – one of the reasons I have my Twitter handle in my signature line is so people can let me know if they do have an issue. I wanted the communication to be part of the moderation process. It really does get to me when I have to do the MGoEquivalent of “handing out discipline”, but I do so in the belief that I am making the board a better place. So, really, I have no problem saying that it is not exactly a democracy on the board, but it is someone’s property ultimately so it probably shouldn’t be.
Democracy’s so 1776 anyway. But-- seeing the blog from your unique vantage point-- if you could change anything about it to make it better, what would it be?
If I could change something about MGoBlog, and this will sound pretty nerdy, it would probably be the module that leads to the death of threads from mangled HTML. Even with the expanded powers of a moderator, those are a pain in the arse to fix and some are not fixable. I say that because, on a recent occasion, I was the reason that a thread had to be recreated twice after a postgame posbang. Yes, I did that, if you recall that night. If there could be a way to deal with HTML better, I would be all for that. Failing that, of course, I am probably going to just read the programming guide again and not make the mistake that I did, but that wouldn’t be the easy road.
Another thing that I would think would help a lot of people is a more detailed FAQ. The site has reached a level of maturity where I think that Brian, Seth and the mods could probably develop something a little more detailed in the way of ground rules. It actually would take some of the stress out of modding, and it would mitigate sidebar discussions in the Action Sticky about perceived borderline calls. More importantly, it would keep people focused on the topics at hand.
5. Before joining the ranks of the overworked and thankless, you were already a seasoned diarist known for fact-based commentary and a penchant for exceedingly professional pie charts, graphs, and other forms of tabular data. Tell us what it’s like to exist in this crossroads of sports and numbers. And what does the data tell you about the future of Michigan football?
I like to think that at the crossroads of sports and the data behind sports exists a better understanding of the story of sports. We love the wins and loathe the losses, but almost everything a team does produces data, and the data begins to provide an understanding of what is going well and what isn’t. I love football and basketball and other sports as much as the next MGoBlogger, but I am always looking for something more reliable than the “eye test”. What we see is important, but what we see or recall may not be the complete story.
Actually, when people say that someone doesn’t pass “the eye test” and they fail to provide data when data exists, I tend to get a little upset. In extreme scenarios, it leads people to say things about players unsupported by facts and that’s a situation in which no fan should ever be, in my opinion. MGoBlog is one of the most well-informed blogs when it comes to sports, and I want to add to that. When someone starts a sentence with “Anyone can see that…”, I will say that I get a small kick out of being able to post the data that asks the question, “OK, can you then explain this?”
In my mind, there should be a focused discussion on blogs like MGoBlog on the areas which your metrics are saying are deficient, and then a discussion on strategies to make it better. We aren’t the coaches, but using data, we can try to see if what they are doing makes sense. It has always been my belief that, armed with data, fans would be able to complain about the right things, if there was anything to complain about, and rather than calling into shows and sounding like they know nothing at all, they can call in to have a nice chat.
Especially during the season, I like to think that what I am helping us do is add to the narrative of the game or the season. We can look at the numbers and talk about what the adjustments should be, in our opinion. Same thing with personnel changes, plays, and so forth. It’s hard to get into that level of detail when many are being emotional, of course, but I think it would be refreshing. That isn’t to say that being emotional is bad – I get pretty upset sometimes too, but whether it is healthy or not, I am one of those people that tends to keep a cap on it.
If you look at the numbers and project it into 2013, the future for Michigan football is incredibly bright, in my estimation. We could easily have an offense that will be tough to stop in the air and on the ground and a defense that grinds people into a fine powder. I am totally OK with this.
Yes. I’m sure we all are. What do you do for a living?
Where I work is already fairly well-known, of course, but specifically, I am a Planning Supervisor at DTE Energy on the electric side of the business, which locals still know primarily as Detroit Edison. I started out as a service planner, designing overhead and underground distribution, and in December of 2011, took a position in management. Currently, I manage most of the administrative functions in one of our planning regions, providing services in Washtenaw County as well as parts of Oakland, Wayne and Monroe counties. I am also not averse to helping out MGoBloggers in the DTE service territory with their issues and I have in fact done this a few times for people.
And what do you like to do for fun?
I am a voracious reader, choosing to delve primarily into subjects like history, philosophy, physics, economics and a few others. I also keep up with my French and German, trying to maintain my skills in both languages. I am a lover of music and – for better or worse – a huge fan of the 1970s and 1980s in particular, but I also have a heavy interest in classical music. I also make my own music, primarily keyboards and drum programming, so I am in essence my own 1980s New Wave outfit. In addition to sports, I am a fan of the BBC comedies, with some of my all-time favorites being “Father Ted”, “The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin”, “Yes, Minister”, “Dad’s Army”, “Fawlty Towers”, and of course “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. Of course, I also collect my favorite American shows – I own “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, MacGyver”, “All In The Family” and numerous other TV series. I also own something in the neighborhood of 600 DVDs ranging from movies like “Network” and “Bridge On The River Kwai” to admittedly lowbrow stuff like “The Hollywood Knights” and “Kentucky Fried Movie”, so it would be totally fair to call me a movie buff. I also like to spend time with my wife and two wonderful kids here in suburban Detroit.
Sounds like a very fulfilling life! Describe the perfect meal.
Believe it or not, for all of my attempts at making things as diverse as Thai and French cuisine, I am a steak and potatoes person at heart. The perfect meal for me came from something in the subfamily Bovinae and was grilled just enough so that the veterinarian could revive it. It would be served with a root vegetable and something which had roots but grew mostly above the Earth. Of course, I do go for classier meals as well, and I am one of those people who is also greatly troubled by wine pairings with various meals too, so there is that.
6. Finally, let’s wrap it up with the staple questions. Can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?
Like a lot of kids in SE Michigan, being a Michigan fan was just a thing for me early on, but as I mentioned in a recent diary, I had a neighbor which gave me a three-dimensional perspective on Michigan, its sports and its history at a very early age, and I was hooked. From that point on, there was no question that Michigan would be part of my life. (http://mgoblog.com/diaries/recalling-my-first-experiences-mgoculture).
To quote myself, regarding my family’s former neighbor:
“I don’t think I ever told him, and maybe I should this season as I walk past Edgewood and Snyder, where he tailgates more often than not, but I credit him primarily with starting me down the path that made me not just a knowledgeable Michigan fan, but a proud alum and MGoFanatic. Indeed, there are times on MGoBlog when, in the middle of a post, I stop to ask myself how Lou would respond.”
And last but not least, who’s your all-time favorite Wolverine?
There are so many good choices, so I will split my answer, if that’s alright. I shall also confine it to football, as it is the sport I follow the closest in Michigan athletics. My favorite coach would be Bo, and the reason for that became evident to me only recently. With some modifications, some of the lessons from his teams have been useful in my own professional growth. Indeed, I keep a copy of “Bo’s Lasting Lessons” at my desk. My favorite players would probably be Denard Robinson, Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson in a very interesting tie. They all went out there and just did the most incredible things and were able to make something out of what would have been otherwise a mundane incompletion or kick return or rushing play or whatnot. They just seemed to be on another level. That’s not to say that there haven’t been many players like that at Michigan, but these three stand out to me in that regard.
So there you have it—MGoProfile is back, and it’s only fitting that we caught up with one of the unsung heroes behind the scene that helps make this site what it is. We’ll be turning a new page with the MGoProfile series as longtime regular M-Wolverine is joining the feature and will spend some time in the interviewer’s chair and put his unique spin on things. In the weeks to come I look forward to seeing the series thrive under our collaborative input and become something far greater than one man could have ever envisioned. And, throughout it all, I’m sure LSA will be there to keep it all running smoothly!